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Read, write and delete from registry with C#

, 17 Dec 2002
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An useful simple class to read, write, delete values from registry with C#.

Introduction

I've done a little update, now this class provides six functions:

  • Read to read a registry key.
  • Write to write into a registry key.
  • DeleteKey to delete a registry key.
  • DeleteSubKeyTree to delete a sub key and any child.
  • SubKeyCount to retrieve the count of subkeys at the current key.
  • ValueCount to retrieve the count of values in the key.

and three properties:

  • ShowError to show or hide error messages (default = false).
  • SubKey to set the subkey value (default = "SOFTWARE\\" + Application.ProductName).
  • BaseRegistryKey to set the base registry key value (default = Registry.LocalMachine).

Source code

Importing other namespaces...

using System;
// it's required for reading/writing into the registry:
using Microsoft.Win32;      
// and for the MessageBox function:
using System.Windows.Forms;

Read function

  • input: the key name (string)
  • output: value of the key (string)
public string Read(string KeyName)
{
    // Opening the registry key
    RegistryKey rk = baseRegistryKey ;
    // Open a subKey as read-only
    RegistryKey sk1 = rk.OpenSubKey(subKey);
    // If the RegistrySubKey doesn't exist -> (null)
    if ( sk1 == null )
    {
        return null;
    }
    else
    {
        try 
        {
            // If the RegistryKey exists I get its value
            // or null is returned.
            return (string)sk1.GetValue(KeyName.ToUpper());
        }
        catch (Exception e)
        {
            // AAAAAAAAAAARGH, an error!
            ShowErrorMessage(e, "Reading registry " + KeyName.ToUpper());
            return null;
        }
    }
}

Write function

  • input: the key name (string) and its value (object)
  • output: true if OK or false if error
public bool Write(string KeyName, object Value)
{
    try
    {
        // Setting
        RegistryKey rk = baseRegistryKey ;
        // I have to use CreateSubKey 
        // (create or open it if already exits), 
        // 'cause OpenSubKey open a subKey as read-only
        RegistryKey sk1 = rk.CreateSubKey(subKey);
        // Save the value
        sk1.SetValue(KeyName.ToUpper(), Value);

        return true;
    }
    catch (Exception e)
    {
        // AAAAAAAAAAARGH, an error!
        ShowErrorMessage(e, "Writing registry " + KeyName.ToUpper());
        return false;
    }
}

DeleteKey function

  • input: the key name (string)
  • output: true if OK or false if error
public bool DeleteKey(string KeyName)
{
    try
    {
        // Setting
        RegistryKey rk = baseRegistryKey ;
        RegistryKey sk1 = rk.CreateSubKey(subKey);
        // If the RegistrySubKey doesn't exists -> (true)
        if ( sk1 == null )
            return true;
        else
            sk1.DeleteValue(KeyName);

        return true;
    }
    catch (Exception e)
    {
        // AAAAAAAAAAARGH, an error!
        ShowErrorMessage(e, "Deleting SubKey " + subKey);
        return false;
    }
}

DeleteSubKeyTree function

  • input: void
  • output: true if OK or false if error
public bool DeleteSubKeyTree()
{
    try
    {
        // Setting
        RegistryKey rk = baseRegistryKey ;
        RegistryKey sk1 = rk.OpenSubKey(subKey);
        // If the RegistryKey exists, I delete it
        if ( sk1 != null )
            rk.DeleteSubKeyTree(subKey);

        return true;
    }
    catch (Exception e)
    {
        // AAAAAAAAAAARGH, an error!
        ShowErrorMessage(e, "Deleting SubKey " + subKey);
        return false;
    }
}

SubKeyCount function

  • input: void
  • output: number of subkeys at the current key
public int SubKeyCount()
{
    try
    {
        // Setting
        RegistryKey rk = baseRegistryKey ;
        RegistryKey sk1 = rk.OpenSubKey(subKey);
        // If the RegistryKey exists...
        if ( sk1 != null )
            return sk1.SubKeyCount;
        else
            return 0; 
    }
    catch (Exception e)
    {
        // AAAAAAAAAAARGH, an error!
        ShowErrorMessage(e, "Retriving subkeys of " + subKey);
        return 0;
    }
}

ValueCount function

  • input: void
  • output: number of values in the key
public int ValueCount()
{
    try
    {
        // Setting
        RegistryKey rk = baseRegistryKey ;
        RegistryKey sk1 = rk.OpenSubKey(subKey);
        // If the RegistryKey exists...
        if ( sk1 != null )
            return sk1.ValueCount;
        else
            return 0; 
    }
    catch (Exception e)
    {
        // AAAAAAAAAAARGH, an error!
        ShowErrorMessage(e, "Retriving keys of " + subKey);
        return 0;
    }
}

ShowErrorMessage function

This is a private function to show the error message if the property showError = true.

private void ShowErrorMessage(Exception e, string Title)
{
    if (showError == true)
        MessageBox.Show(e.Message,
                Title
                ,MessageBoxButtons.OK
                ,MessageBoxIcon.Error);
}

Using the code

First of all, you have to import its namespace:

using Utility.ModifyRegistry;

and to instantiate your class:

ModifyRegistry myRegistry = new ModifyRegistry();

The three properties have already their default values. However, you can modify them:

property default value example
ShowError false myRegistry.ShowError = true;
BaseRegistryKey Registry.LocalMachine myRegistry.BaseRegistryKey = Registry.CurrentUser;
SubKey "SOFTWARE\\" + Application.ProductName myRegistry.SubKey = "SOFTWARE\\MYPROGRAM\\MYSUBKEY";

OK, now you can read, write, and delete from your registry.

To read:

myRegistry.Read("MY_KEY");

Note: if MY_KEY doesn't exist, the Read function will return null.

To write:

myRegistry.Write("MY_KEY", "MY_VALUE");

Note: if the SubKey doesn't exist, it will be automatically created.

To delete a single key:

myRegistry.DeleteKey("MY_KEY");

Note: also if the MY_KEY doesn't exist, this function will return TRUE.

To delete the subkey tree:

myRegistry.DeleteSubKeyTree();

Note: this code will delete the SubKey and all its children.

To retrieve the count of subkeys at the current key:

myRegistry.SubKeyCount();

To retrieve the count of values in the key:

myRegistry.ValueCount();

Example

The following code is an example from my in progress RTF file editor program. This code retrieves the "Recent files" list from registry:

[...]
ModifyRegistry myRegistry = new ModifyRegistry();
myRegistry.SubKey = "SOFTWARE\\RTF_SHARP_EDIT\\RECENTFILES";
myRegistry.ShowError = true;
int numberValues = myRegistry.ValueCount();

for (int i = 0; i < numberValues; i++)
{
    arrayRecentFiles[i] = myRegistry.Read(i.ToString());
    [...]

and this code writes the "Recent files" list into registry:

ModifyRegistry myRegistry = new ModifyRegistry();
myRegistry.SubKey = "SOFTWARE\\RTF_SHARP_EDIT\\RECENTFILES";
myRegistry.ShowError = true;
myRegistry.DeleteSubKeyTree();
for (int i = 0; i < 8 ; i++)
{
    if (arrayRecentFiles[i] == null)
        break;
    myRegistry.Write(i.ToString(), arrayRecentFiles[i]);
}

Conclusion

The .NET framework has a lot of functions to read and modify the registry, my class is only a start point. I hope this helps!

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

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About the Author

Francesco Natali
Web Developer
Italy Italy
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralReally Nice & Helpful PinmemberTHE SENSE19-Dec-06 0:49 
GeneralGood Work PinmemberMostafa Abdellah11-Jun-06 23:18 
Generalthx, very helpful and well-organized Pinmemberjing.wj1-Jun-06 5:49 
Generalthanks friend Pinmemberkhaadem26-Apr-06 21:56 
GeneralOpenSubKey error PinmemberTony Fountain14-Apr-06 12:43 
GeneralDeleteKey PinmemberAndreas Stenius3-Nov-05 22:45 
GeneralRe: DeleteKey PinmemberStefan Jope30-Jul-09 6:58 
GeneralBinary Data PinmemberReinout Hillmann18-Dec-02 8:03 
No writing/reading from the registry article would be complete without the mention of how to read and write registry keys that contain large binary values.
 
If you have time, please could you add this?

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